Concept of Khilafat

Description:
There is a misconception in the minds of Muslim youth that there should be only one khalifah, a single leader of the Islamic ummah. This is in fact a misinterpretation of the Holy Prophets (saw) hadith. This hadith applies to any situation in which a group of Muslims unite and appoint a leader, as the Holy Prophet (saw) said, even if there are only three people, one of them should be appointed as leader. What this hadith means, therefore, is that if a number of Muslims unite and agree on a leader and make a bayat of obedience to the head of that grouping, regardless of its size, if any of them were then to rebel against that leader and claim to be Amir that rebellion would amount to treason. It does not mean that, in the whole world, it is not permissible to have two Islamic leaders. That only applied at the time of al-Khulafa ar-Rashideen; it was only then that only one khalifah was permissible This is the context in which the Holy Prophet (saw) said what he said and understanding it in any other way is wrong. There is no hadith stating there should be only one Amir in the whole world from the east to the west and that there cannot be two. The Holy Prophet (saw) never said this. His philosophy was establishment of Imarah wherever one is. Even if there are only three people, they should appoint an Amir and work under him. Given that the Holy Prophet (saw) allowed his ummah to establish Imarah when there are only three people how could it possibly be that the whole ummah of Islam with a population of 1.25 billion should be limited to one Amir? The basic objective of an Islamic government is to administer justice, keep the peace, provide the basic necessities of the population and defend the state. In a situation where Muslims are living all over the world, thousands and thousands of miles away from one another, separated by oceans, the ummah is no longer a rudimentary system of village and tribal communities so how is it possible for one authority to keep control? Effective control cannot be established; law and order cannot be maintained; the basic needs and necessities cannot be provided; the basic rights and duties of the state cannot be fulfilled. In the present circumstances a single man could not oversee all these things and would be unable to fulfil the duties incumbent on a Muslim ruler. It is inconceivable that Islam and the Holy Prophet (saw) would say that there should only be one Amir for the whole world. The truth is that the Holy Prophet (saw) not only allowed a plurality of Amirs but also recommended every three people to establish Imarah when they travelled. In this way there can in fact be hundreds of Amirs. The basic premise is for Muslims to live under the system of Imarah in a state of taah (obedience to authority) and to live disciplined lives. It is clear that there should be an Amir in every Muslim territory to establish unity